Pat Finucane (solicitor)


Pat Finucane (solicitor)

Patrick ("Pat") Finucane (1949 - 12 February 1989) [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199899/cmhansrd/vo990505/debtext/90505-14.htm#90505-14_head0 Hansard, 5 May 1999] ] was a Catholic Belfast solicitor murdered by loyalist paramilitaries on February 12 1989. His murder was one of the most controversial during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. [" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/3683206.stm Timeline of Finucane murder probe] ". BBC, 23 September, 2004. Retrieved on 09 August 2008.] Finucane came to prominince due to successfully challenging the British Government over several important human rights cases in the 1980s. He was shot fourteen times as he sat eating a meal at his Belfast home with his wife and three children. His wife was wounded during the attack. [" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1677046.stm Pat Finucane: A controversial killing] ". BBC, 13 September, 2004. Retrieved on 09 August 2008.]

Background

His brother, John, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, was killed on "active service" in a car crash in the Falls Road, Belfast, in 1972. His brother Dermot successfully contested attempts to extradite him to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland for his part in the murder of a prison officer. He was one of 38 IRA prisoners who escaped from the Maze in 1983. His third brother Seamus was the fiance of Mairead Farrell, one of the IRA trio shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar in 1988. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Northern_Ireland/Story/0,2763,737008,00.html Collusion 'at heart' of Finucane killing] By Rosie Cowan and Nick Hopkins, Guardian Unlimited, 14 June 2002 ] Seamus was leader of an IRA unit in west Belfast before his arrest in 1976 with Bobby Sands and seven other IRA men, during an attempt to destroy a furniture store in south Belfast. He was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment. [ [http://www.sundaylife.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=512544 Orde pressured over Finucane IRA claims] By Alan Murray, Belfast Telegraph, 18 April 2004] .

Pat Finucane's best-known client was the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. He also represented other IRA and Irish National Liberation Army hunger strikers who died during the 1981 Maze prison protest, Brian Gillen and the widow of Gervaise McKerr, one of three men shot dead by the RUC in a so-called "shoot-to-kill" incident in 1982. In 1988 he represented Pat McGeown who was charged in connection with the Corporals killings, and was photographed with McGeown outside Crumlin Road Courthouse.cite web | title = Pat Finucane: A controversial killing | author = | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1677046.stm | publisher = BBC | date = 13 September 2004 | accessdate = 2007-10-14] [cite web | title = UN to Seek Inquiry into Finucane Murder | author = Ed Moloney | url = http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/mal32-29.htm | publisher = "Sunday Tribune" | date = | accessdate = 2007-10-14]

Death

His killing is widely suspected by human rights groups to have been perpetrated in collusion with officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). He was shot 14 times in front of his wife, Geraldine, a Protestant before her marriage, and his children, by two masked men in his North Belfast home. In 2003, the British Government Stevens Report stated that the murder was indeed perpetrated in collusion with British police in Northern Ireland [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/northern_ireland/03/stephens_inquiry/html/default.stm The Stevens Inquiry] ]

The Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF) claimed they killed the 39-year-old solicitor because he was a high-ranking officer in the IRA. Police at his inquest said they had no evidence to support this claim. Finucane had represtented republicans in many high profile cases, but he had also represented loyalists. Several members of his family had republican links, however the family strongly denied Finucane was, himself, a member of the IRA.

In 1999 as a result of the Stevens Report, RUC Special Branch agent and loyalist quartermaster William Stobie, a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment was later convicted of supplying one of the pistols used to kill him [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1677046.stm Pat Finucane: A controversial killing] BBC News] . The paramilitaries belonged to the UDA, which at the time was a legal organisation under British law.

In 2000, Amnesty International demanded that the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, open a public inquiry into events surrounding his death. In 2001 as a result of the Weston Park talks, a retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments to investigate the allegations of collusion by the RUC, British Army and the Gardaí in the murder of Finucane, Robert Hamill and other individuals during the Troubles. Cory reported in April, 2004, and recommended public enquires be established including the case of the Finucane murder.

An inquiry has since been announced by the British Government, but under the Inquiries Act 2005, which empowers the government to block scrutiny of state actions. Finucane's family have criticised its limited remit and announced that they would not co-operate with the enquiry. Judge Peter Cory also strongly criticised the Act. Amnesty have reiterated their call for an independent inquiry, and have called on members of the British judiciary not to serve on the inquiry if it is held under the terms of the Act. [http://web.amnesty.org/pages/gbr-030605-action-eng "Judiciary must not take part in inquiry sham"] ] . On 17 May 2006, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on the British government to hold an independent public inquiry into Finucane's murder [ [http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0519/finucanep.html US politicians call for Finucane inquiry] — RTÉ News, 19 May 2006] .

Finucane's widow, Geraldine (b. 1950), has written letters repeating this request to all the senior judges in Great Britain, and took out a full-page advertisement in the newspaper, "The Times", to draw attention to the campaign, which has become a cause celebre amongst republicans and other activists.

In June 2007, it was reported that no police or soldiers would be charged in connection with the murder. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6237428.stm "No security charges over Finucane"] BBC News]

Posthumous

Finucane's law firm, Madden & Finucane Solicitors, led by Peter Madden, continues to advocate for those it considers to have been victims of the State, or their survivors. The 'Pat Finucane Centre' (PFC), named in his honour, is a nationalist advocacy and lobbying entity in Northern Ireland.

ee also

* Rosemary Nelson

References

External links

* [http://www.madden-finucane.com Madden & Finucane Solicitors]
* [http://www.serve.com/pfc/ The Pat Finucane Centre - for human rights and social change.]
* [http://www.worldlii.org/cgi-worldlii/disp.pl/eu/cases/ECHR/2003/328.html FINUCANE v. THE UNITED KINGDOM - 29178/95 [2003] ECHR 328 (1 July 2003)] — "European Court of Human Rights judgement in the case brought by Finucane's widow Geraldine"
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1465494.stm Unresolved deaths: A question of collusion?]


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